The Covid-19 pandemic has seeped into every facet of life, affecting how we do simple tasks and largely causing a shift in HR trends. An increasing number of companies are now considering having their employees work remotely for an extended period of time, with several specifying that their remote work policies will extend till the end of 2020, if not beyond that.
A Lenovo research conducted in March 2020 showed that employees across 5 countries are now changing how they view and approach remote work policies.
Technology has helped disrupt every area of business, from easing operational hassles to simplifying marketing, sales and even HR related activities.
At a time when remote work seems here to stay, a few tweaks in the use of your tech can help you make your own remote work process more effective.
Invest in Portable Devices, Keep them Connected and Synced
A Lenovo research found that 71% of the employees who were surveyed feel they have access to the right technology when working from home, while the choice of collaboration and productivity tools are endless today, investing in the right hardware and associated infrastructure is also a key element in ensuring a seamless work from home process.
In most office environments, employees jostle between desktops and laptops, the latter allowing for easy mobility and the freedom to move around the workplace while coordinating different tasks. While working from home, employees are usually assigned one of the two, several have their own personal devices to fall back on as well.
When work from home seems to be becoming part of the new normal because of the Covid-19 pandemic though, the basic need is to be connected, and maintain quick response times to respond to colleagues, customers and prospects without delay during work hours.
Syncing your mobile device to your collaboration tools, downloading/installing the mobile app of the team collaboration tools yo uuse, ensuring all your devices are connected and synced will help 1) access work data and information from anywhere thereby 2) allowing you to stay on top of the game and respond quickly to help keep the pace.
Choose Devices that Boost Productivity
Several employees (especially developers, even those who deal in heavy number work) may have desktops with large monitors at their workplace, a good monitor is actually useful in boosting overall productivity at work. Some employees are used to using two devices while at work as a result of this, they have their desktop in place and use their laptop when they need to step out for their meetings.
A sudden shift to a remote work model might result in few employees having to adjust to the use of one device, if you are used to a large screen though, investing in the same hardware during an extended work from home model is a good way to ensure you have what you need to keep your productivity levels high!
Several companies who have now been considering moving to a permanent work from home model have in fact transported their employees office devices to them during this period!
Video is a Key Element in Remote Work and Collaboration
Most recent laptops and desktops come with enhanced video and audio call features. This is a blessing in disguise, given that most of the latest smartphones support these capabilities too. By ensuring your mobile and work desktop/laptop have the conferencing tools that the team uses regularly (Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, or other video-conferencing tools) and by keeping these tools synced across your devices, you can capitalize on your video capabilities to connect with employees and your team effectively, a video call can not only help boost motivation levels among larger teams, it can also help reduce the time taken to coordinate complex issues and tasks because the message and objective in conveyed easily and quickly!
In several recent conversations with tech leaders, one common aspect was how a few felt that while remote work brought out a sense of informal behavior during video-calling sessions with prospects while working from home, it was important at the same time to retain a sense of corporate formality when coordinating a work call or business conversation. While a large chunk of the global workforce are working parents with young children-at-home (or pets!), during a client call or prospecting effort, ensuring that no sounds disturb an ongoing conversation is a good way to maintain overall professionalism and business reputations too.
Investing in a set of noise cancelling headphones is not only beneficial for external work calls but also for intra-team online meetings and events, it will reduce the number of disturbances and help teams boost productivity by reducing the constant back and forth.
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Standby Network Connectivity
Most of us have one WiFi system at home to support all our work from home (and Amazon / Netflix) streaming needs! However, when there is a network connectivity issue, for just one person, it affects the entire workflow and process for the whole team, causing a strain on overall operations.
While most employees choose to rely on their handheld devices or mobile data during this downtime, mobile data connections may or may not support the infrastructure and cloud systems in-use by a distributed team, or it may not support access to these systems at the same speed, with the same effectiveness.
A backup connection might always be a good idea given that this work from home model is going to extend for an indefinite period of time, for most teams at least!
The employee experience and overall work culture is changing because of the Covid-19 pandemic. So are the kinds of technologies (hardware and software) that are being adopted by individuals and businesses. Keeping in mind that the new normal where work from home becomes a part of daily work norms is here to stay, investing in these technologies will always work to the benefit of an employee, to ensure their own productivity.